New technology allows investigators to discover the identities of murderers and rapists even if their DNA is not on file. Genetic genealogy or triangulation allows scientists to find the relative(s) of people who commit crimes.
Genealogy websites have opened doors once closed to investigators. The desire to discover one’s origin story has compromised a criminal’s ability to hide their identity. A perpetrator’s family members can help detectives break decades-old cold cases.
Some of you are probably familiar with the recent apprehension of the “East Area Rapist,” aka the “Golden State Killer” or “Original Night Stalker.” Former policeman Joseph James DeAngelo was charged with capital murder last year; he is believed to be responsible for as many as 12 killings and around 50 rapes.
The public’s fascination with this new means of solving crimes has led some to question the privacy rights of individuals who provided their DNA to genealogy companies. Still, we can expect that more criminals will be apprehended moving forward thanks to novel breakthroughs in genetic science.
DNA Helps Authorities Arrest Man Suspected of Rape
Much like the Golden State Killer case, investigators used genetic triangulation to catch another man suspected of committing rape, between 1992 and 1994 in Sacramento County, KFOR reports. Mark Manteuffel, 59, was arrested by federal agents in Atlanta, Georgia.
“They have to look through the ancestry of that family and look for descendants in that family that were living in the area at the time,” said Ruth Dickover, who heads the forensic science program at the University of California, Davis.
More than 54 cold cases nationwide have been solved thanks to DNA and genetic genealogy, says Dickover. Sacramento Police Chief Daniel Hahn said his department is reviewing all violent cold cases to determine if genetic genealogy could result in breakthroughs.
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